Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Quiet Place, Isle of Dogs, Oh Lucy!, The Death of Stalin Reviews

A Quiet Place
Dir. John Krasinski
Watch Trailer

Who knew Jim from The Office would deliver what might be the most unique monster movie of 2018? In A Quiet Place, John Krasinski writes, directs, and stars alongside his wife Emily Blunt in this horror film with a great hook: there are alien creatures who hunt using only sound, making it essential for Krasinski, Blunt, and their children to be as silent as possible. The result is a tense, well-executed film that ingeniously uses sound (and the lack thereof) to ratchet up the suspense.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ready Player One, Unsane, Death Wish, Thoroughbreds Reviews

Ready Player One
Dir. Steven Spielberg

So often I hear complaints from people: "Hollywood doesn't make original ideas anymore!" Yet, like flies to a light, these same whiners continually pack in to see the hundredth mindless Marvel, Star Wars, or Harry Potter movie. We're a culture obsessed with nostalgia and the past, and Ready Player One, based on the popular book by Ernest Cline, both celebrates and criticizes this very notion. It's both a blast from the past, a dazzling action flick filled top to bottom with pop culture references rewarding the mindless absorption of decades-worth of movies and video games, but it also argues not to lose sight of our connections in the real world. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Red Sparrow, Annihilation, A Fantastic Woman, The Insult Reviews

Red Sparrow
Dir. Francis Lawrence
Watch Trailer

One of the oldest spy movie cliches is the love affair between two secret agents. From classics like Hitchcock's Notorious in 1946 to more modern fare like 2016's Allied, it's a well that's been run pretty dry by this point. But that didn't stop the dynamic Hunger Games duo Francis Lawrence and Jennifer Lawrence (no relation) from adding to the pile with Red Sparrow, a thriller based on the book of the same name. In this case it's a Russian and an American spy cautiously eyeing each other in a dull, lifeless game of "can we trust each other?"

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Predicting the 90th Academy Awards [UPDATED]

The Oscars are almost here! The biggest, most glamorous movie awards ceremony is celebrating its 90th anniversary this Sunday (March 4th, 8:00pm EST!), and even though it's way cooler to not care about it, I'm kind of obsessed with Oscar season. While I'm disappointed in some key snubs (The Florida Project deserves much better), I'm glad to see "offbeat" genre movies like Get Out and The Shape of Water making a big splash (literally in the latter case).

This year also marks one of the most diverse Oscars ever - with the 5th-ever female director nominated (Greta Gerwig) and the 5th-ever black director nominated (Jordan Peele, who also made history by also being nominated for Picture and Original Screenplay). There's also the first female ever nominated for cinematography (Mudbound), and the first trans director for the documentary Strong Island.

The Oscars may not be so white anymore, but the real question is who will get the gold? Below are my predictions - leave yours in the comments to play along!

* = I haven't watched it yet

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black Panther, The Greatest Showman, Paddington 2, Hostiles Reviews

Black Panther
Dir. Ryan Coogler
Watch Trailer

At only 31, Ryan Coogler is the youngest person so far to direct a Marvel movie. Why did the Disney brain trust invest so much good will in someone with only two other directorial features under his belt? Because those films were Fruitvale Station and Creed! Two of the best movies of their respective years, each with a fantastic sense of drama and character, I found it tough not to hype myself up for Coogler's Black Panther. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, Black Panther was the first mainstream black superhero - before Falcon or Luke Cage - and Coogler seemed like the perfect choice to bring him into the 2018 cultural zeitgeist. After the hype-dust settled, I admit that huge parts of this movie disappointed me - it's not even in the same ballpark as his previous two films - but Black Panther is still a promising new direction for the Marvel brand.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Post, Phantom Thread, Molly's Game, Mary and the Witch's Flower Reviews

Hello all! Welcome to my first review post of the new year. I've decided to experiment with a new rating system that may or may not simplify things. There are now only three ratings: SKIP IT, SEE IT, and WAIT FOR NETFLIX. Let me know if you like this new method or prefer the old fashioned A-F scale!

The Post
Dir. Steven Spielberg
Watch Trailer

Steven Spielberg is such an efficient, workman-like director that he made The Post while still in post-production on his upcoming special effects extravaganza Ready Player One. Not unlike the newspaper reporters depicted in the film, Spielberg's style is straightforward, sensational, and fast-paced. He's the seemingly perfect director for the material, and with a cast filled top-to-bottom with amazing talent, I thought The Post would have been a slam-dunk. Unfortunately, this intriguing true story of the Washington Post's ethical dilemma in regards to publishing the top secret Pentagon Papers feels a little too pat and easy for its own good. It lacks the paranoia of All the President's Men, the authenticity of Spotlight, and the urgency of Citizenfour, settling for a hum-drum, nicely polished history lesson.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

Looking back at my "Most Anticipated of 2017" list, out of 10 movies only 1 landed on my "top ten" of the year list (Okja), 4 I found heartily enjoyable (Coco, Logan, A Cure for WellnessBaby Driver), 2 I found mildly underwhelming (Guardians Vol. 2Alien: Covenant), 2 I outright didn't like despite critical praise (Blade Runner 2049, The Last Jedi), and 1 got bumped to 2018 (Annihilation).  

Basically, most of the big movies set in space ended up disappointing me. So, being burnt out on Treks and Wars, this upcoming year I'm mostly hyped for smaller, dramatic movies. The following are the top ten movies I'm most looking forward to watching in 2018!

10. Stan and Ollie
Director: Jon S. Baird (Filth, Cass)
Cast: John C. Riley, Steve Coogan, Danny Huston, Shirley Henderson

Laurel and Hardy is one of the most iconic comic duos of all time, but unlike Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, there has yet to be a biopic made of their life. Stan and Ollie stars John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy (looking great in prosthetic makeup), and Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel. I seriously could not imagine more spot-on casting for the legendary comedians. The film will follow the duo in their later days, during a British variety hall tour in the 1950s as the crowds are starting to dwindle. With a screenplay by Jeff Pope, who wrote one of my favorite movies of 2013, Philomena, I can only hope this is as good a comedian biopic as Man on the Moon.

Release Date: TBA

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